3 Things You Should Do Before Trying Any TikTok Cleaning Hack

published Feb 11, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

It’s hard to get through a single day without someone telling you they tried, wore, read, or ate something because they saw it on TikTok. From cooking to makeup to fashion, TikTok has become the place to go when it comes to getting inspired to do things a little differently in your life. And that includes cleaning.

In fact, cleaning hacks like cleaning grout with Zep and getting pet hair off the bed with something called a ChomChom Pet Hair Roller have gone viral multiple times because of just how well they work (and, of course, how satisfying the hacks are to watch on video).

But having complete trust in TikTok when it comes to cleaning can be downright dangerous. Here’s why — and what you should do before you try any TikTok cleaning hack.

Credit: The Kitchn

Why TikTok Cleaning Hacks Can Be Dangerous

The main reason TikTok cleaning hacks can be unsafe is because they often involve mixing chemicals.

“The concept of mixing everything under the kitchen sink is downright dangerous,” says Wayne “Stainmaster” Edelman, CEO of high-end dry cleaning service Meurice Garment Care and a board member of the National Cleaners Association. He says this as both an expert and someone who has experience with a dangerous cleaning hack.

“I personally fell victim to a hack where you place a threaded bolt through a replaceable dish scrubbing brush head and then use a battery-powered drill to spin the head and ‘scrub’ the grout. In theory, it was a brilliant idea,” Edelman says, but toward the end of the project, his breathing became labored and he became lightheaded. That’s because he was using bleach as his cleaning agent.

“I realized that I was in an enclosed bathroom breathing the fumes that I was further intensifying with the battery-powered scrub brush. It was a day or two until my breathing returned to normal,” he says. “I also found out that the bleach completely discolored my pants and socks. As a garment specialist I should have known that the bleach would have discolored my clothing; my lungs I didn’t think about. I would never repeat that hack without sufficient personal protection.”

If you’re reading this and thinking there are just one or two cleaning products you shouldn’t combine, there are actually quite a few. Bleach and ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, and even multiple types of drain cleaners can all create potentially harmful fumes and effects. And they can be hard to remember, especially when you don’t know the exact chemical makeup of the cleaners you’re using.

So what should you do to avoid getting into a potentially dangerous situation? It all really comes down to one thing, says Edelman: Proceed with caution.

What to Do Before You Try Any TikTok Cleaning Hack

Staying safe while cleaning via TikTok doesn’t have to involve any super complicated precautions. In fact, doing so is pretty easy.

First, make sure you’re working in a ventilated space. Open the windows!

Next, double (and triple) check the chemical composition (and combinations) of the cleaning products you’re using.

Third, wear proper protection. After all, a clean bathroom isn’t worth damaging your health. Make sure you have gloves and safety goggles on hand to protect your skin and eyes. Some products require you to wear a mask to protect your lungs, too.

And one last piece of advice from Edelman: If you’re ever on the fence about whether something is safe or not, consult a professional.